Raiders coach Antonio Pierce not interested in ‘Band-Aid’ at quarterback


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The Las Vegas Raiders are committed to Antonio Pierce. The team removed his interim coaching tag shortly after the 2023 season ended and named him the full-time head coach.

Pierce and the Raiders brass traveled to Indianapolis for the NFL Combine this week, and the head coach gave some insight on what he hopes to have at quarterback for 2024.

“I don’t know how it’s going to play out, but Telesco better start working his magic,” a smiling Pierce said in reference to general manager Tom Telesco’s offseason strategy. 

“I told him, ‘It’s your turn now. All eyes are on you. I am going to be undefeated for six more months.'”


Tom Telesco, left, and Antonio Pierce attend an introductory news conference at the Las Vegas Raiders’ Headquarters/Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center Jan. 24, 2024, in Henderson, Nev.  (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The Raiders hold the 13th pick in the upcoming NFL Draft

Caleb Williams, Drake Maye and Jayden Daniels are this year’s top quarterback prospects. If the Raiders don’t want to trade for or sign a veteran free agent quarterback, the team could elect to trade up to secure one of the top young signal-callers. 


“I am sure that’s something that Telesco has already spoken about, but that’s my personality,” Pierce said of the possibility of pulling off a trade to move up in the draft. “As you guys saw and witnessed, I am a go-getter. But, obviously, that has to be a collective agreement.”

Last season, Aidan O’Connell, a 2023 fourth-round draft pick, handled the starting quarterback duties for 10 games. The Raiders signed veteran quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo last offseason, but he struggled mightily, throwing seven touchdowns and nine interceptions in his seven games.

Aidan O'Connell throws football

Quarterback Aidan O’Connell (4) of the Las Vegas Raiders passes during the second quarter of a game against the New York Jets at Allegiant Stadium Nov. 12, 2023, in Las Vegas. (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

The franchise is expected to release Garoppolo later this offseason. Pierce laid out what he is looking for in the team’s next quarterback, saying he was not interested in a “Band-Aid.”

“I would hope whoever we draft, that’s the route we go, that’s who the starter becomes,” Pierce said. “You don’t want to put a Band-Aid at that position. That’s old … that’s old, man. I think the Raiders … we’ve seen that enough in this organization.”

Jimmy Garoppolo looks to throw

Jimmy Garoppolo of the Las Vegas Raiders attempts a pass during the fourth quarter against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High Sept. 10, 2023, in Denver, Colo. (Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

The Raiders play in the same division as the two-time defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. Pierce is looking for a quarterback who will not back down from the challenge of facing the defending champions twice next season.

Antonio Pierce runs off the field

Interim head coach Antonio Pierce of the Las Vegas Raiders runs off the field after the Raiders defeated the New York Giants, 30-6, at Allegiant Stadium Nov. 5, 2023, in Las Vegas. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

“I want a guy that can lead, that wants to compete. I want a guy that’s not afraid of a challenge because this is a big challenge that we have in front of us. We’ve got the world champs in our division again. You know what you have to deal with each and every year as long as you have Patrick Mahomes in our division,” Pierce said.

“I want somebody that says, ‘You know what? I am up for that challenge.’ That’s the same way I look at it going against these three coaches in this division.”


Pierce added that he is seeking a signal-caller who has a proven ability to win.

“You want someone who has been battle-tested, that has been through adversity, had challenges and wasn’t just handed the keys. Because that’s going to be the process here no matter what we do,” Pierce said. 

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